Sudan: SPLM refutes hostility to other political southern parties
By Ngor Arol Garang
February 23, 2011 (ABYEI) – A key member of the South’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Wednesday refuted media reports that his party is hostile to other political parties in the region, saying they are equal partners in the government and political activities, which bind them together.
Radio Omdurman, quoted an anonymous southern political, on February 22, of accusing the SPLM of being hostile to other political leaders and their members, especially Members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) of Lam Akol and the United Democratic Party (UDP) of Tong Lual Ayat.
“We are not hostile to any political party and their Members anywhere in the region. We treat other political parties and their members as our equal partners either in the executive or legislative”, said Daniel Awet Akot who is a deputy speaker of the Juba based South Sudan Legislative Assembly.
“In the parliament we are equal members of parliament and equal cabinet members in the council of ministers. There is no subordination and subjugation,” he said.
Awet is a member of the SPLM political bureau, the highest political organ in the party.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Awet, challenged Radio Omdurman to mention the place in which the incident occurred.
“They even failed to mention the place where the reported incident took place and also refused to name the name of the political leader or member”, said Awet. He described the report run by Radio Omdurman as false and malicious and that it is calculation and propaganda by enemies of peace to create chaos and disunity among political leaders in the South.
“This is truly a false report. It is a clear propaganda concocted by media in the north used by enemies of peace and unity of south Sudanese because they are not happy with our stability and the overwhelming votes cast by our citizens to separate from them during referendum. They never expected that our people would put behind their differences and voted for separation. They never thought of that at all”, said Awet.
“It is clearly a false report because if it is not concocted report why does not even refer to the political leader it claimed to have complained of SPLM being hostile to other political parties or place where it occurred, asked Awet, before adding in description that relationships between SPLM and other political parties as “very good”.
“Members from other political parties in the parliament now with us are getting equal treatment with our members. As a deputy speaker, I have never received any complaints from members of the political parties that they are getting different treatment. They are getting equal with our members and they are our co-operating partners. We have been working with them to successful conduct of the referendum as agreed in the all southern Sudan political conference held in Juba in 13-17 October, 2010″, he explained.
The official said the SPLM, under South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir, is enjoying massive support in the region, much to the disappointment of the northern political parties whom he said never wanted the south to unanimously vote for separation.
“No wonder the northern political parties including the National Congress Party did not expect the South to unanimously vote for separation. They thought they would use some of them to their advantage by making chaos. They had forgotten that leaders from all southern political parties in October spoke one voice to the support the successful conduct of the referendum”, said Awet.
He said the journalist who runs the story in question did not even bother to contact the SPLM leadership in the north to clarify what the purported sources claimed.
The senior member of the southern ruling party said in line with natural justice and professional journalism, the reporter should have at least confirmed the story with the SPLM office in Khartoum before it was published.
“They should be factual instead of creating stories to show that the political situation in South Sudan is bad for the SPLM. How can the national radio attribute the story to anonymous sources”?
“This only shows that they want to support the chaos in the south at all costs. But to me this is a sign of desperation and they should just go back to the drawing board on how to improve relations with the south,” he said.
He said the story is “nothing but a blatant lie aimed at disorganizing the SPLM in the region ahead of this year’s preparation for declaration of the independence of south Sudan from the north”.
While attempts to reach Lam Akol, the leader of the SPLM-DC failed, Tong Lual Ayat, the leader of the United Democratic Party, in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune denied experiencing hostile relationships with the SPLM and having had any interview with journalists from Radio Omdurman over the issue.
“At the moment, our relations with the SPLM do not suggest any political concern. We are running our political activities and there are no interruptions, at least at the moment. We also did not have any interview with journalists from Radio Omdurman. Neither me, nor any senior member from the party had an interview with them. I think it was an accidental mentioning. They need to clarify that”, said Ayat.
South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession from the North in a referendum in January, several years after decades of devastating conflicts.
The vote was part of the 2005 signed by National Congress Party and the former rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The deal allowed the South to conduct a referendum to decide the future of the region.